Russia’s recent border marking activity at the breakaway South Ossetian administrative boundary line is “a deliberate and dangerous provocation”, Georgian PM’s special representative for relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, said on Sunday.
He made the remarks while visiting areas, where the Russian border guard forces placed banners, marking the “border of South Ossetia”.
Tbilisi said that “illegal” border marking activities by the “Russian occupying forces” close to the villages of Tsitelubani in the Gori municipality and Orchosani in the breakaway region in the close vicinity of Georgia’s major east-west highway resulted into falling of a small portion of the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline within the territory occupied by Russia.
830km BP-operated Baku-Supsa pipeline, also known as the Western Route Export Pipeline (WREP), runs from Azerbaijan to the Georgian Black Sea terminal of Supsa and has the capacity of transporting up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day.
“This is an obvious provocation, a deliberate provocation, a very dangerous provocation,” Zurab Abashidze said.
“With this kind of provocation in our region, which is facing so many problems, where Russia itself has so many challenges, where security and peace hangs by a thread, one can trigger such violence, which may then spiral out of control,” he said.
He also condemned the move as “inhuman action” as if this border marking activity results into actual borderization, involving installing of barbed wires or fences, locals will be cut from their farmlands. Some locals say that the border banners were placed about kilometer and a half deeper into their territories.
Head of the Georgian Interior Ministry’s information and analytical department, Shalva Enukidze, said that during a “conversation with representatives of the Russian occupying forces’ border guard service, they assured us that the local population will be able to harvest” the farmlands, which fell beyond the border markers.
The Georgian PM’s special envoy for relations with Russia is scheduled to hold a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, in Prague on July 15 in frames of direct bilateral dialogue, which was launched between Tbilisi and Moscow in late 2012 to address mostly trade and economy-related issues.
“I will raise this issue in the most strident way in Prague; it does not matter now what this framework [of negotiations] is for; it is completely unimaginable to ignore this issue; we are talking about people, who are now in limbo and no one knows what will be tomorrow,” Abashidze said.
Grigory Karasin, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said on July 11 that at the next meeting in Prague on July 15 the two sides will continue discussions on trade, economic and humanitarian issues.
“Participation of experts from transportation sector [in the upcoming meeting] will be a new element. It will allow us to have an in-depth discussion about the perspective of relations in this area,” Karasin told RIA Novosti news agency.